Drake Star advises SongPop publisher FreshPlanet on acquisition by Gameloft

21 December 2018 Consulting.us

Vivendi-owned mobile games publisher Gameloft has acquired NYC-based FreshPlanet, the maker of popular music trivia game SongPop. Global investment banking firm Drake Star Partners acted as financial advisor to FreshPlanet on the transaction.

Gameloft is a Paris-based video game publisher focused primarily on the lucrative mobile games market. Its game portfolio relies heavily on movie IPs (Iron Man, Avatar, Ice Age), mobile versions of popular console-based titles (Sonic, Rayman, Assassin’s Creed), or mobile games ‘inspired’ by other popular series (Hero of Sparta = God of War, Guitar Rock Tour = Guitar Hero, Modern Combat = Call of Duty).

Founded in 1999 as a subsidiary of French video game publishing giant Ubisoft, Gameloft was acquired by French mass media conglomerate Vivendi in a hostile takeover in 2016. Formerly a majority owner of Activision Blizzard, Vivendi then attempted to take over Ubisoft, though the bid ended in March of this year as the conglomerate sold its Ubisoft shares for a tidy profit of over $1 billion – with the slack being picked up by China’s Tencent.

With that healthy cash infusion, Vivendi/Gameloft is looking for more mobile game content to act as a platform for its Gameloft Advertising Solutions division – a leading B2B offering dedicated to brands and agencies. Currently, more than 114 million users can be reached by advertisements in Gameloft games every month.Drake Star advises SongPop publisher FreshPlanet on acquisition by GameloftGameloft has now attracted significantly more thumbs and eyeballs to its ad placements with the acquisition of NYC’s FreshPlanet, the makers of popular music trivia game SongPop. The game is a free-to-play app available on iOS, Android, and Facebook where players go head-to-head to guess the name of a song or its artist. SongPop has been downloaded over 100 million times and has driven millions of song downloads.

The acquisition reinforces Gameloft’s leading position in the mobile gaming market, while strengthening its North American presence. The move also diversifies its catalog into music trivia, while also giving the firm a greater foothold into casual and female gaming audiences.

The sell-side of the transaction was aided by investment bank Drake Star Partners – acting as exclusive financial advisor to FreshPlanet. Drake Star’s team consisted of Michael Metzger, Mohit Pareek, and Nick Meyers.

Based in New York, the global firm focuses on delivering M&A and corporate finance services in the technology, media, and communications sectors. Drake Star has completed over 300 transactions since 2004 – a majority of which have been cross-border.

“Drake Star’s extensive knowledge and deal experience in the gaming, music, and mobile apps space were essential in leading a highly competitive process and making this deal happen,” commented FreshPlanet CEO Mathieu Nouzareth.

Michael Metzger, Partner at Drake Star’s Los Angeles office, added, “It was a pleasure working with FreshPlanet and facilitating a highly synergetic transaction with Gameloft, a global leader in mobile gaming. As the category leader in the music trivia segment, FreshPlanet attracted strong interest from several strategic buyers.”

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